Jose “Nick” Santana, of Mays Landing, with his wife, Linda.

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP — A two-vehicle crash killed 64-year-old motorcyclist Jose “Nick” Santana, of Mays Landing, on Wrangleboro Road Friday morning, police said.

Santana, who worked for Richard Stockton College as a painter for the past 18 years, was riding to the school when the accident happened Friday morning. He and his wife, Linda, had just celebrated their 44th anniversary on July 27th. The couple moved to the township 42 years ago.

Police Capt. Mike Petuskey said the accident was reported just before 6 a.m. at milepost 9.1, near Consumer Square Shopping Center.

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A preliminary investigation revealed Santana was riding north on Wrangleboro Road on a 2002 Harley Davidson motorcycle and was cut off by a 2009 Toyota Corolla driven by Karyan Israel, 59, of Easton, Penn., police said.

Santana was pronounced dead at the scene.

Israel was taken to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center Mainland Campus in Galloway Township with minor injuries, police said.

No charges have been issued.

Family members said the Santanas’ marriage was special considering Nick graduated from Oakcrest High School and Linda was from Mainland Regional. The high school sweethearts were high school rivals but became best friends. They have three children and seven grandchildren.

Santana was a veteran of the U.S. Navy, a former Atlantic County sheriff’s officer and he worked in several different construction disciplines. He was a proud member of many different unions and often served as a rep, his family said.

Linda Santana said he was well known in the community — especially by the kids. He coached football, baseball and wrestling for decades, and would often dress up as Santa Claus for local neighborhood parties.

The family would often host a haunted house at their home on Pinehurst Drive.

"He scared generations of children. Kids would come by in September and ask, ‘What will Mr. Santana do this year?" she said. "He lived a full life. It was just a life cut too short."

“He was everyone's dad, everyone's pop, everyone's papi,” she said.

Linda Santana said she bought her husband a Harley Davidson motorcycle for his 49th birthday. He always wanted to ride a motorcycle. He had wanted to attend the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota.

Linda said many of his friends are at that annual rally for the next week, so the family will wait a week for the funeral.

The accident shut down Wrangleboro Road in both directions between Timber Glen Drive and Lombard Street for more than two hours.

Contact Joel Landau:


Follow Joel Landau on Twitter @landaupressofac

Contact Anjalee Khemlani:


Follow Anjalee Khemlani on Twitter @AnjKhem

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